5th European Agroforestry Conference
Agroforestry for the transition towards sustainability and bioeconomy
18-20 May, 5-7 October 2020, 17-19 May 2021, Nuoro, Italy
Towards a renaissance of Europe’s agriculture
After two years of activities to organize the event, two postponements because of COVID-19 pandemic, the 5th European Agroforestry Conference (EURAF 2020): Agroforestry for the transition towards sustainability and bioeconomy was held online on the 17th -19th of May 2021.
Researchers, practitioners, representatives of organizations from all over Europe, but also from other continents, gathered remotely in the three-day conference to share and discuss the latest scientific contributes in the field of agroforestry.
Five plenary and seven parallel sessions involved 200 participants on average each day to present, follow and discuss issues such, climate change, biodiversity, agricultural policy, landscape, ecosystem services, agricultural and forestry productions, all tackled through the magnifying lens of agroforestry. Several contributions provided insights on how agroforestry practices are perceived by farmers, consumers, policy makers and scientists and which strategies can really contribute to their diffusion to improve and sustainably exploit the environment, necessary to our survival?
The role of agroforestry has been further deepened during the round table “Agroforestry: the future of nature-based farming?” at the end of the conference. Experts from the five continents have provided food for thought to reflect on the strong potential of agroforestry in facing huge global challenges: mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience of production systems to environmental risks and the improvement of environmental, social and economic sustainability of agriculture.
“Agroforestry is beginning to become recognized as a key agricultural technology to lead Europe to a renaissance of its farmlands” writes Patrick Worms in his introduction to the conference Book of Abstracts.
So what is the special role of the Mediterranean within Europe?
Climate change makes the Mediterranean a critical area, truly a hotspot, where extreme events, the depletion of water resources, forest fires, soil consumption, desertification, agricultural yield decline and losses of ecosystem services are urgent issues for planning, developing and managing policies.
Sardinia with its central position in the Mediterranean, may have a fundamental role in representing, because of its a laboratory by which to develop, apply, implement strategies to counteract those challenges of climate crisis. Among such strategies, agroforestry finds in this region its natural cradle. Sardinia as a region is fortunate to be able to preserve those valuable practices integrating the management of agricultural and forestry heritage with a special attention to balance traditional knowledge and innovative research.
What has been highlighted in one of the plenary sessions on agroforestry as the result of a “co-evolution between agriculture, natural resources and landscape” finds in this region a highly significant synthesis which deserves to be observed and lived. Because of that, the organizing committee renewed their commitment to continue to promote agroforestry in Sardinia and with the support of EURAF, to meet in presence in Nuoro in 2022, for the 6th European Agroforestry Conference. Giving us the possibility to see agroforestry practices in real live!